Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Impressionists #6 - WYWH



Here's sixth and final extract from my new short story collection The Impressionists. In this one, Eileen, a reclusive, middle-aged divorcee still haunted by the loss of her son, discovers a new life in the virtual world.

WYWH

I have presence…can you tell? Can’t you feel it oozing out of my every pore?

No, probably not. That’s because I don’t – not in that sense, in the charismatic sense. Never did, really; not in 55 years. Just ordinary, I suppose. Always have been. No one you’d notice…in particular. But, I do have a presence. A web presence, that is. There’s another me floating around out there in the cosmos. It’s a new and improved me that no one can see, they can only sense. It’s another life and it’s ever so much fun.

My name’s “Misti”…with an “I.” That’s to say, that’s my alternative me’s name, not the real me’s name – my name. I wanted something with a bit of mystery to it, a bit of the unknown. And a touch of the poetic – a bit more poetic than “Eileen,” at any rate.

And all right, yes, if I were being honest, maybe just a hint of the young and sexy, too. Well, why shouldn’t I? It’s a new me, I made it up – I can make it whatever I want it to be. Who’s to know? No diets, no plastic surgeons, just re-label yourself and change a “Y” to an “I” and 30 years of your life can just disappear in an instant. It’s a modern-day miracle!

Sam’s the one who got me into all this. Sam’s my nephew. He’s a big whiz in the computer industry from what he tells me. Does all sorts of programming and coding and…whatever else it is they do. He’s one of the best, from all accounts. Anyway, he’s the one that pushed me online, as it were. He said I needed “modernizing,” which I had a good laugh over. “Sam,” I said, “I’m a woman on the threshold of old age, not a 1970s prefab kitchen – there’s not a lot you can do to change me at this stage in the game.” “You’d be surprised,” he said. And I was. Mind you, I will admit there were a few scenes and tantrums and one or two panic attacks along the way – not to mention the day I broke down in tears, sobbing that if I couldn’t even set the toaster right to do dark brown instead of burned, how on earth was I going to communicate with 4 billion people across the globe, most of whom didn’t speak English? But I got there…eventually.

I mastered this beast…this magic box.

He’s a very patient boy, our Sam. And persistent. “You never come and visit, you don’t show up at family get-togethers, and you never call us, so maybe this way we can all get to hear from you a bit more often.” “Yes, Sam,” I said, “You have my word. From now on I’ll let my fingers do the talking.”
I do love him. He reminds me of my Billy in some ways. Or at least…how I imagine Billy would be if he were still here.

I have a boyfriend now – did I mention that already? Hard to imagine, isn’t it, me at my age, after all these years, back on the dating scene again. But I am and I do. His name’s “Rocky”…with a “Y". We’ve been seeing each other for almost six months now. Six months. That’s quite a long time – or it seems like it. Though I should add, we’ve never actually used the words “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” in any formal sense. It’s more of an unspoken thing, really. But he makes his intentions clear enough. Once he sent me an instant message with an emoticon of a very stiff, expressionless couple holding hands, and underneath it he’d written: “This is us.”

***

The Impressionists is also available at Amazon UK here.

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